In efforts to boost relations with Latino American countries, Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi arrived in Nicaragua this Tuesday and railed against US sanctions, a theme that both countries have in common.
In his first visit to Latin America, Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi met with his Nicaraguan counterpart Daniel Ortega this Tuesday evening. During the visit in the Nicaragua’s presidential palace, Raisi rebuked US sanctions against both Iran and Nicaragua. Iran’s president then took part in a joint press conference with Ortega and there, Raisi said: “the United States wanted to paralyze our people with threats and sanctions, but it hasn’t been able to do it”.
Noting that in the past years, Iran has always had good relations with Nicaragua, Raisi also added that “in addition to friendly political, economic and commercial relations with Nicaragua, Iran has also had good cooperation with this country in the field of energy,” and that “in the past 2 years, bilateral interactions in the fields of industry, agriculture, science and technology, and medicine and therapy have also developed favorably”.
In August 2021, soon after taking office, Raisi spoke to his Nicaraguan counterpart Daniel Ortega and said the position of the two countries in “opposing the US hegemony is a valuable asset for interaction and convergence in the international arena.”
Visiting Nicaragua was indeed Raisi’s second stop, after Venezuela. He is also scheduled to visit Cuba, Iran’s other ally in the region. These three countries share close ties with Iran and also are at odds with the US. In fact, Raisi’s tour of allied nations in Latin America comes amid rising tensions with the administration of President Joe Biden.
In this round of Latino America trip, Iran’s president is accompanied by ministers of foreign affairs, defense, oil, and health. Hassan Rouhani was the last Iranian president to visit Venezuela and Cuba in 2016 while his predecessor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had visited Nicaragua in 2007.
Why is this tip important
Visiting countries with shared concerns, on top of which is US hostility, would surely be of great political and economic value for Iran. It is worth mentioning here that Iran and Venezuela, for example, are major oil producers and both are sanctioned by the US. However, Iran has managed to export crude to Caracas, circumventing sanctions, to help the Latin American country rebuild its energy infrastructure.
During his visit to Venezuela and president Maduro this Monday, Raisi said the link between the two countries “is not normal, but rather a strategic relationship,” insisting that their nations have “common interests and we have common enemies that do not want the two countries, Iran and Venezuela, to be independent,” Raisi said referring to the US government.
Last year in June, Venezuelan President also visited Iran and then, he signed a 20-year pact with the Islamic Republic to expand cooperation in oil, petrochemicals and defense.
New agreements that were signed this week between Raisi and Maduro expanded to areas of science and technology, industry, as well as more cooperation on energy, oil, mines, automobiles, etc., which will push the current volume of their bilateral trade from $3.6 billion to $20 billion.
Iran’s relations with Cuba have also been steady, with Iranian officials often speaking about the “unlimited potential” to expand relations between the two countries. Both countries have been under US sanctions and are listed among the countries by the Biden administration as countries that are “not cooperating fully” in the fight against terrorism.